The death of a US sports journalist covering the World Cup in Qatar did not involve any foul play, the brother of the deceased Grant Wahl said on Tuesday, confirming comments made by US officials earlier.
Eric Wahl had previously alleged on Twitter that his brother was “killed” while covering the World Cup in Qatar for “wearing a rainbow pride shirt”, but now says he regrets making those remarks.
“The family will release a statement as to cause of death soon,” Eric said on Twitter, adding: “I no longer suspect foul play. It was not a (pulmonary embolism).”
Ned Price, a spokesman for the US State Department, said Wahl’s body was sent from Qatar back to the US, and an autopsy was scheduled in New York City.
The US had no reason to believe Wahl’s death was the result of foul play, Price said. He praised Qatari authorities for fully cooperating with the embassy in arranging the repatriation.
“We have seen no indication of foul play or anything nefarious at this point,” Price told reporters in Washington.
Wahl, who had complained of respiratory problems earlier in the week and had been treated for a possible case of bronchitis, fell back in his seat in a section of Lusail Stadium reserved for journalists during extra time of the Argentina and Netherlands game on Friday.
The 49-year-old was rushed to hospital but was declared dead soon after.
Reports also surfaced alleging there were no defibrillators available in the stadium, but FIFA quickly refuted those claims.
“In light of inaccurate reporting following the tragic events at Lusail Stadium during Netherlands against Argentina, FIFA would like to confirm that, in line with medical protocols, and as per the report from Hamad Medical Corporation’s Ambulance Service in Qatar, a defibrillator was available with the first responding paramedic team and applied to the patient as part of their response,” FIFA said in a statement on Tuesday.
“In addition, it was confirmed that the patient was transferred to hospital by an emergency ambulance. Every effort was made by medical staff present to save his life. Our thoughts remain with the family of Grant Wahl.”